Lately, one of the trendiest terms in the real estate market is smart homes. A smart home consists of multiple automation features such as temperature control, air quality measuring devices, various home appliances, and electronic devices. Energy efficiency is also counted within the same realm.
There has been significant focus on building energy-efficient homes for a while now. This obviously comes from the necessity of conserving energy in order to save money and environment. Many people have become frustrated over the rising prices of utilities; trying to adapt their lifestyles around energy conservation and renewable energies. Similarly, the issue of climate change is a global one; urging people to adopt environmentally friendly lifestyles.
Fortunately, modern technologies and methodologies allow us to conceptualise and implement energy-efficient home designs. Both architecture and interior designing play important roles in ensuring the conservation of energy. This is why expert architects and designers are being hired to plan contemporary Pakistani homes.
Here are some of the elements found in a home designed to reduce energy consumption:
The site orientation needs to be decided by an expert architect in order to utilise maximum benefit of sunlight. The decision is taken depending on location and environmental conditionals of the area. Similarly, room orientations save energy too. Rooms facing east receive sunlight during morning and are cooler in the afternoon; ideal for kitchens and bedrooms. West-facing rooms should be avoided for these purposes.
Rooms facing south receive sunlight during most of the day; making these ideal for living and dining rooms. Garages, bathrooms, and laundries do best with north-facing rooms as these receive low sunlight.
Installing glazed windows, doors, and skylights can play an important part in saving energy. These are responsible for regulating the light, warmth, and air circulation according to the environmental zone of the house. In local climate, which is warm for most of the year, south-facing windows should be avoided. If such windows are designed, energy-efficient window treatments should be considered.
Home automation is not just a trend of modern and luxurious lifestyle. It actually provides benefits in saving energy and lowering the costs of utility bills. Motion sensors, controlled thermostats, and air quality alarms are fairly common.
Roofing can greatly impact the heating and cooling of a house. A cool roof is installed to save energy as it is designed to reflect sunlight and prevents absorption of excessive heat. It uses sheet covering or reflective paint. Reflective shingles and tiles can also be utilised. However, cool roofs are installed after analysing the specific climate and other environmental factors of the area.
A well-designed ventilation system does not only add to comfort of the residents but prevents overuse of electrical appliances for heating and cooling. Home designs are planned to ensure healthy natural ventilation, but it is not as effective nowadays. The reason is the use of heating and cooling systems requiring to keep homes closed off and changing environmental conditions. This is why spot and whole-house ventilation systems are implemented to make homes better at conserving energy.
Tips for conserving energy in homes
- Use Energy Star-certified appliances and electronics
- Avoid overuse of appliances
- Make a habit to switch off energy-using gadgets as soon as these are not in use
- Grow indoor plants that improve air quality
- Ensure natural shade with trees around the house
Share your ideas on saving energy in homes using the comments section below.